Today and in the future, whether we’re driving vehicles or the vehicles are driving us, avoiding car accidents is increasingly dependent upon built-in driver-assistance technologies.

Led by Jerusalem-based Mobileye, Israel’s advances in machine vision and robotics are in high demand by vehicle manufacturers everywhere to make driving safer. As many as 150 Israeli companies are involved in security, communication and vision systems for vehicles.

The Paslin Laboratory for Robotics and Autonomous Vehicles (RAV Lab) at Ariel University is developing algorithms to modulate speed and handling of driverless cars automatically in response to changing road conditions. Ford Motor Company, which will soon integrate Shefayim-based Mishor 3D’s augmented-reality navigation tech in its cars, recently held its first AppLink Developer Challenge in Israel to find new ideas to enhance the driving experience.

Here is a sampling of Israeli companies making Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) and other novel products that could one day save your life on the road.

Mobileye is the global leader in camera-based collision-avoidance software used by automakers including Tesla, Audi, Volvo, Nissan, Ford, BMW and General Motors (GM), and also available as an aftermarket add-on. The software interprets the visual field to anticipate possible collisions with any sort of obstacle, and can detect roadway markings (lanes, road boundaries, barriers) as well as identify and read traffic signs and traffic lights.

Mobileye’s technology will be implemented in 237 car models from 20 OEMs by 2016. And most of the carmakers now racing to develop semi-autonomous and autonomous vehicles are depending on Mobileye’s made-in-Israel computer-vision and autonomous emergency braking technologies to make cars of the future even safer than conventional ones.

Autotalks enables vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure (collectively called “V2X”) communication – in other words, helping your car communicate with other cars and with Internet-enabled installations such as traffic lights. Based in Kfar Netter, Autotalks has a strategic partnership with STMicroelectronics to produce a mass market-optimized second-generation V2X chipset. Its solution is built into an integrated “smart antenna” developed jointly by Kathrein Automotive and Autotalks for Audi AG vehicles.

Autotalks lets cars speak to one another. Photo via YouTube
Autotalks lets cars speak to one another. Photo via YouTube

BrightWay Vision of Haifa is developing an advanced day- and night-time gated imaging technology called BrightEye. It features a special camera that performs forward-facing functions such as object detection and night/day enhanced imaging even in rain or snow, up to 200 meters in the distance.

i4Drive — one of 19 Israeli companies named to the 2015 Red Herring Top 100 list for Europe — collects data from smartphone sensors such as cameras, GPS and accelerometer and puts them together with its advanced video-analysis algorithm to warn drivers of unsafe situations that could cause an accident.

The i4Drive system provides visual and audible warnings of headway distance, forward collisions, lane departure and speeding. Other features include augmented reality, a panic button and automatic communication between drivers. The company, based in Modi’in, offers solutions customized to fleet managers, parents of teen drivers, and insurers and carriers.

i-Sense Drive, from touchscreen-tech company Inpris in Jerusalem, lets drivers control the car’s entertainment and navigation systems, and even the smartphone, with minimum or no eye contact. The technology identifies the user’s hand and tracks each individual finger, enabling the user to create multiple commands and gestures. The company currently is in discussions with automakers to get testing started prior to commercialization.

Nexar announced its intention to change driving culture for the better when it first launched in May 2015 at the Code Conference in Los Angeles. So far operating only in Tel Aviv, the company is recruiting more drivers to take part in its beta dashboard camera (dash-cam) cloud-connected network. The idea is to collect visual data (such as intersections most prone to red-light running), crunch it and turn it into immediate actionable warnings to help drivers make decisions that could prevent accidents. Drivers using Nexar can also provide feedback and alerts to one another.